Today, March 22 is World Water Day, and all over the world people are gathering to celebrate and engage in community action around the power and importance of water. Such an integral ad irreplaceable part of life, our bodies and the planet are over 70 percent water. And yet many people and corporations take it for granted, and water is increasingly polluted to the point of being undrinkable in many parts of the world.
But there are still sacred waters, clear waters, places where the water is revered for its beauty and healing properties. People are called to travel and go on spiritual retreats for many reasons, including to experience these expressions of flowing natural wonder.
Every continent contains bodies of water considered special or sacred by the indigenous people, but some are more accessible and famous than others. Here are some that are favored by global travelers:
The Waterfalls of Hawai’i
Among its many natural wonders, Hawai’i is world-renowned for having some of the most beautiful and temperate waterfalls in the world, most birthed from volcanic underground springs. Waterfalls were considered sacred to the Hawaiian people, a place where heaven and earth meet. There are many opportunities to experience the majesty of Hawaii’s waterfalls on one of our Hawaiian retreats.
The Clear Waters at Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
The Caribbean Sea contains some of the most gorgeous living reefs in the world. Exploring the bright colors and ocean wildlife in a reef that is still alive is an unparalleled experience, an opportunity to be in awe at nature’s diversity. It is important to explore the reefs with an experienced, mindful guide that will respect the endangered reefs’ fragility. You can safely enjoy the Cahuita National Park reef as part of Caribbean Nature Adventure retreat.
India is a magical land, with ritual and prayer woven into daily life. One of the most revered parts of India is the Ganges River, called the source of life and “Ma Ganga” by many of the locals. It has been said that dipping in the Ganges can clear a spiritual seeker of many lifetimes of karma. It is best to visit Ma Ganga upstream closer to her origin, due to heavy pollution at the lower end. Attending the Sattva Yoga Teacher Training near Rishikesh is an excellent way to be near the Ganges while learning how to teach the ancient science of India.
Lago Atitlan, the Mayan Heartland
In the Guatemalan highlands, Lake Atitlan is a healing vortex in the center of a ring of volcanoes. Beloved by the Mayan people as a place of high magic, today Lake Atitlan attracts visitors from all over the world seeking a healing retreat, such as the Mind, Body, Service retreat at Villa Sumaya.
Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley
Another highland freshwater lake, Lake Titicaca was a sacred place for the Incan people, and is still revered by their descendants the Q’ero and other indigenous people of the Andes. The islands of Lake Titicaca are home to several villages and ancient temples, and contain many intact examples of pre-Incan architecture. You can experience Lake Titicaca on the Heart of Pacha Mama retreat with Puma Quispe Singing or the Sacred Mystical Journey, Machu Picchu to Puno Retreat.
These are just a few of the many sacred waters all over the world that have been celebrated and honored by indigenous people for thousands of years. Water is the essence of life, what allows humans and nearly all living beings on this planet to exist. Today and everyday we can experience gratitude for this precious life-giving element. And when planning our explorations and healing retreats, we can include visits to sacred bodies of water to help us connect with this element more directly and personally.